Veteran free agent forward Jared Sullinger met with Heat president Pat Riley in recent days as he begins the process of looking for a new team, agent David Falk said by phone on Monday.
Falk said Sullinger did not work out for the Heat but “had a visit with coach Riley.”
Asked if the Heat is in the mix to sign Sullinger, Falk called the conversations “exploratory at this point. We’re looking for a future home. A lot of things would have to happen. They have no roster spot.”
The Heat, Falk said, “is a team we’re investigating and have a lot of respect for. Coach Riley has been a fan of Jared’s. I have had a very long relationship with coach Riley. He’s a guy I have great respect for.” (Falk also praised owner Micky Arison and the Heat organization.)
The Heat's meeting was considered due diligence, with no signing planned at this time.
The most likely way for the Heat to clear a roster spot is by releasing forward Chris Bosh, which would begin the process of clearing his contract from Miami’s salary cap, a process that requires a doctor to conclude that playing again, after multiple blood clot incidents, would put Bosh at risk.
But the Heat has not done that yet and has felt no need to do that until it wants to clear a roster spot or cap space.
That process of releasing Bosh, and clearing him from its cap, needs to take place by late June in order for the Heat to gain an additional $25 million in cap space this summer.
Sullinger, 25, was drafted 21st overall by Boston, out of Ohio State, in 2012 and spent his first four seasons with the Celtics, averaging 11.1 points and 7.7 rebounds and making 171 starts over those four seasons.
He signed a one-year, $6 million contract with Toronto this past summer but missed the first 41 games with a foot injury.
He played 11 games for the Raptors, averaging 3.4 points and 2.5 rebounds in just 10.7 minutes per game and was traded last month to the Phoenix Suns, along with two second-round picks, for P.J. Tucker.
The Suns released Sullinger the next day, and he’s playoff eligible if he signs with another team.
During his career, Sullinger has shot 43.6 percent overall and 27.2 percent on three-pointers.
Sullinger has had ongoing weight issues in recent years. The Boston Herald reported he reached 315 pounds during last year’s playoffs and his father, Satch Sullinger, said the family tried to intervene, sending Jared to John Lucas' workout facility in Houston.
"It didn't work," Satch Sullinger said in a Boston Herald piece that ran Sunday. "He just wasn't losing weight, man. But now reality has hit him. Only you can change the image you have created for yourself."
The Heat has had considerable success helping players lose weight and get in better condition, including several on the current roster, such as James Johnson and Dion Waiters.
I posted a lot more on Pat Riley today, including Derrick Williams’ comments of appreciation for him, and Riley’s comment on LeBron James. Please click here for that... Twitter: @flasportsbuzz